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Top tips for ski boots and orthotics

Updated: Apr 15

Photo of 3 men walking on top of a snowy mountain with snowboarding and skiing gear

Before moving to Melbourne and working at In Stride Health Clinic as a podiatrist, I grew up in Myrtleford. Living at the foot of the mountains I was lucky enough to grow up in an area ruled by Winter sports. Being a member of the Myrtleford Alpine racing team for most of my secondary schooling years I was fortunate enough to hit the slopes weekly.

This year is already lining up to be a great year for Winter sports! Whether you ski for fun once a year or are more serious, I am sure many of you are aware ill-fitting boots can be detrimental to your skiing performance and can make a generally enjoyable experience a miserable one! I have been a victim of this on many occasions, where I have called it quits on a day because my shins or arches are in agony. This is not ideal on any day let alone a bluebird one!

From all these bad experiences comes a unique insight in how make them a thing of the past. Combining my knowledge of skiing and my degree in podiatry I aim to improve individuals skiing experience to avoid sitting inside on a perfect day and wasting valuable skiing hours inundated with pain!

Tips for fitting ski boots There are several tips and tricks we can apply to help ensure that our boots fit properly and that our foot is fully supported throughout the day.

Firstly before you purchase or hire any ski boots ensure that your boot fitter is experienced with a good knowledge on the product, never settle for second best when it comes to finding the perfect boot and perfect fitter. It is important that they are aware of the level of skier you are, if you have previously owned boots, if your interest is in comfort or performance, what type of skiing you aim to be doing and most importantly what type of foot you have. It is vital that your foot is measured!

As a skier you want to avoid having a boot that is too big, this will cause nothing but trouble and will affect your ability to perform on the slopes. The boot shouldn’t rub or have high pressure areas, ensure that all the seams and the liner cause no discomfort.

Do I need orthotics in my ski boots?

This next part is where it gets interesting from a podiatric perspective! Wearing orthotics in ski boots can optimise your performance and can also help prevent pain and injury from occurring. Ski boots are rigid, they restrict how much your foot can move in multiple directions, that’s their job. Orthotics aren’t used to alter this, in my opinion the orthotics are there to place your foot in the most comfortable position to facilitate the function of the boot. The orthotic provides a deep heel cup for the foot to sit stable in, they also provide arch contouring to allow for better edge control when in the boot. Custom orthotics are best as they are made to fit your foot and its exact specifications, a custom insole can also be prescribed to provide the exact degree of control your foot requires within the boot. The orthotic is designed to prevent pain and not to treat symptoms, as the orthotic holds your foot in place it prevents movement and rubbing within the boot and then the necessity to tighten your boot, which will inevitably will just cause more pain – I’m talking about that dreaded shin-bang!

When should I see a podiatrist at In Stride before hitting the slopes?

Ill fitting orthotics can also lead to a poor experience. Sometimes orthotics need tweaking to ensure that they are performing in the best way to support your foot, I recommend that individuals have orthotics issued at least 2 months prior to hitting the slopes. If you already have orthotics before putting them in to your boots have them reviewed by your podiatrist, if possible with the boot, this minimises the possibility of pain on the day.

Bring you boots and/or orthotics into In Stride Health Clinic for one of our podiatrists (Vronika, Heleine or myself) to check before hitting the slopes. It’s important to check that they are still an appropriate fit and that they are going to work best for you on the day!

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